ARDEN OLD TIMERS RODEO Roughin’ it in the rain

(K.S. BROOKS/Chewelah Independent)

This little guy can’t get too far away from a well placed rope at the Arden Old Timers Rodeo. (K.S. Brooks photo)

ARDEN OLD TIMERS WOW THE CROWD: Rodeo has been running since the 1970s in Stevens County…

The rain stopped just in time this past Saturday afternoon so that spectators could comfortably enjoy the Arden Old Timers Rodeo, which was more like a family reunion with cowboy games than a stringent rodeo. Despite the jovial attitude and atmosphere, this rodeo went off without a hitch, running fluidly and like clockwork.

The rodeo opened at 2 p.m. with a performance by Tough Enough, the Colville Equestrian Drill Team, and a special tribute was paid to longtime rodeo staple Mickey Brown. There was nothing ordinary about this rodeo – from the fact that spectators could watch for free, or make a donation upon entry if they so desired – to the uniqueness of the contests, which centered more around fun than competition. Standard rodeo events included calf roping, team roping and barrel racing. But then it got really interesting, with contests like the potato race (where riders had to race with a potato on a large spoon), the sweetheart race, the ribbon race (where two riders had to hold each end of a ribbon while riding side-by-side and not let go), wild cow milking, cow decorating and more. These were highly entertaining and good for a number of laughs, especially with all the mud in the arena.

While many events that day were lacking traffic because of the weather, the stands in Arden had plenty of enthusiastic onlookers.

The Arden Old Timers Rodeo has been running since the 1970s and used to be limited to participants ages 30 and over. As participation declined, the age limit was dropped to 21. Despite that, it seemed there were plenty of competitors over age 30 this year.

Brett Gleave, who has taken over as rodeo director since the passing of Mickey Brown, said that people come out to the rodeo to have a good time. And, with an entry fee for competitors of only $10, it’s an affordable good time at that.

Even though it’s called the Old Timers Rodeo, there’s one fun activity that’s reserved for the kids: the chicken race. According to Arden Old Timers Rodeo Association President Otto Ward, the chicken race was Mickey Brown’s favorite part of the rodeo. It was easy to see why; once the chickens were let loose in the arena, and the ready, set, go was announced, mayhem ensued. Kids, mud, chickens and the hopes of collecting one dollar for every chicken caught, made for lively entertainment.

The Old Timers Rodeo is held in May of each year, so mark your calendar for 2020. On September 21, 2019, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., they’ll be hosting the Arden Old Timers Kids Day. The rodeo grounds are located behind the Arden Community Hall at 636 Hall Road. For updates, follow the Association on Facebook at